The Government of Ontario announced that it is moving two public health regions into new levels within its COVID-19 reopening framework.
In a release, the province said effective Monday, March 29 at 12:01 am, the City of Hamilton Public Health Services will be moved into the Grey-Lockdown zone.
As well, the Eastern Ontario Health Unit will be moved to the Red-Control level.
“Over the last week, we have continued to see some concerning trends in key health indicators in regions across the province,” said Christine Elliott, the Minister of Health.
“As we cautiously make targeted adjustments to public health measures to support the wellbeing of individuals and small business owners, it is critical that everyone remains vigilant and continues to strictly follow all public health measures and advice to keep each other safe.”
The release notes that the decisions were made in consultation with each region’s medical officer of health and are based on public health trends and local conditions.
The province also announced that it would modify its “emergency brake” system to allow for harsher public health measures to be implemented in regions experiencing a “rapid acceleration” of virus transmission.
The modification will allow the chief medical officer of health, in consultation with a local medical officer of health, to advise the immediate reimplementation of shutdown measures.
Currently, the system allows for a region to be immediately moved into the Grey-Lockdown level.
The province announced earlier on Friday that it will permit the resumption of outdoor fitness classes and the reopening of personal care services in lockdown zones.
The decision to relax some rules was made in order to “further support businesses and promote fitness during the pandemic,” the government said.
“While adjustments are being made to the emergency brake and certain public health measures, the latest data continues to show some worrying trends throughout the province, and variants of concern remain a significant threat to public health,” said Dr. David Williams, the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
“That is why it is important that people remain cautious and vigilant in order to minimize the transmission of COVID-19 and protect themselves and their communities.”
To date, Ontario has seen 338,239 COVID-19 cases and 7,292 virus-related deaths.